Flor Del Paraiso…not so much

In July of 2014 I was in Puerto Rico for a friend’s wedding. Myself, the best man who is my homeboy (let’s call him “Josh”), decided to split cost of a “hotel” on the first night to save cash before we went to the villa where the rest of the wedding party was to be. My lovely girlfriend who is a self proclaimed ‘bougie’ individual was a bit skeptical about the idea and boy was she right.

Josh told me months in advance that his dad gave him a business card of a great place called ‘Flor del Paraiso‘. They didn’t have a website, only a Facebook page, but had a great deal. Unlike most places here in the states they didn’t have a nightly rate. It was Puerto Rico and I’d never been, so I figured hey no biggie. My buddy tried explaining his phone interaction with one of the workers. The guy kept mentioning the real low rates and hours of availability but couldn’t take reservations or offer more info. It seemed a bit sketch because of the mentioning of hour but we blamed it on the language barrier. Whatever, save money right?
Once again, Josh reassured me that it was safe and after looking at prices for the resort I was to stay at afterward, I thought hey I can use the money on other stuff during my travels. Well, we arrive to PR before Josh and other members of the wedding party and are waiting in the airport for like 3 hours. It’s muggy, busy, and loud. My girlfriend and I had already been on two connecting red eye flights for ~7 hours coming from Cali (exhausted is an understatement with these time zone changes). Josh’s plane finally gets there and we get a rental car. After driving through the express way-slums-expressway-slums for 2.5 hours trying to find the place…we realize we are lost in what Josh called a whore hub.
The hub of whores was mad real. The rinky dink city was super grimy. Made Gary, Indiana look like the burbs. (See Gary below)
There were no street signs, only old dim lit buildings and bars with transvestites and ladies of the night walking around outside trying to turn a trick with aged booty cheeks squeezing through fishnet stocking. Weathered men were crawling in and out of cantina doors wearing Puma shoes, sporting what used to be bright polo shirts, dull from perspiration and wear…the works. Our GPS (in Spanish language) had us rerouted about a thousand times and my girlfriend was the only fluent Spanish speaker able to fully decipher. Her fluency was compromised because the satellite kept cutting out for vast stints while we made our way through PR. We wanted to ask for directions but feared having a prostitute approach our car. The last thing anyone wants is an inadvertent prostitution charge. In hind sight, maybe if we picked one up we would have ended up at Flor del Paraiso faster— but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We end up calling Flor del Paraiso for directions and some preteen kid named Angel (pronounced ‘ahn-hel’ as you may well know) is giving my girlfriend turn by turn direction but it’s not like, “Make a left on Cline St. and turn right on Broadway.”

 It’s like, “You’ll see a church on the left going down a little hill, go right after the trash cans after the church. Then there’s a boot store by a sign. Pass the boot store drive past 4 stop lights and at the drive way go left. In the dark of the night, most of these things were hard to spot. We ended up being no where near the “hotel” like we originally thought we were. Angel saved the day. At this point he’s guiding us deep down this dark jungle road off the highway beyond some pothole filled Burger King/Subway parking lot. Seemed a bit creepy (my gf was concerned for proper reasons).

Out of no where… Huge lit up sign blinking FLOR DEL PARAISO, nice grass (mind you, mud and crumbled brick were the only things in sight for the last 3 hours), plants, decorative planted trees, etc. are all around us. It was as cheesy as Reno or Vegas lights.

This is all just down the driveway entrance. Josh and I are a little excited at this point thinking we’ve hit some sort of tropical treasure jackpot.
It leads us toward what looks to be a mini sub division of duplex homes. No office sign anywhere. All gravel road in the parking lot, yet no real place to park.
ALL the garage doors were open and ALL the lights in them were turned on with #s painted on the wall in black block style font. Driving around, we are looking for a single soul, not one. We end up going to the back way of the houses and it literally led to a cliff that went straight down into a Borinquen abyss.
At this point all three of us who generally love each other have become agitated with one another saying “WTF, WHERE ARE WE? WHAT KIND OF PLACE IS THIS? IS THIS A SET UP? ARE WE GOING TO DIE?”
We contemplated going back to the Burger King/Subway but were really low on gas and feared breaking down on the side of the road and getting killed and perhaps worse.
So we make our way around the parking lot once more heading toward the entrance and finally we see a little kid walking with towels folded in his arms. He just appeared out of nowhere, like children of the sugar cane.
We lower the window and just start beckoning, “Angel? Are you Angel???”
He stops petrified, maybe thinking were going to pull him in our all white brand new Jeep Rubicon.
We stood out pretty badly. We looked straight up like some dope dealers out a Daddy Yankee music video. Skeptically he approaches and we explain who we were, he’s relieved, and we are as well realizing we weren’t being led in to a trap. He guides us toward the “newer, nicer” section of the complex which is way back toward the cliff and he says for us to pick one and pull in to the garage, close the door, and he’ll help us in a minute.
We are completely confused by his directions because 1, we see no other cars. 2, it’s super sketch, and 3, we’re in the middle of no where with no cell phone service. There were no signs anywhere that reinstated the fact that we were at our location. Not even a form of security. We pull into the garage and for safe guard, only close the door halfway in case any funny business happens we can scramble out or just crash the shit down with the Jeep (had that extra insurance). I ask Josh to stay with my girlfriend while I scanned the room. Walking up the stairway, I notice the nicely laid ceramic tile and iron rod railing all seemed fairly new. It lead  me to an opaque glass door with a solid wood frame.
I open the door and it’s a completely refurbished Spanish style studio apartment with a full size bed and a chair. At a quick glance I was rather impressed. There’s continued ceramic tile with a wooden bed frame and two SUPER CHEESY flame lights on each side of the bed, mounted to the wall.
torch light.jpg
The chair is a curvy retro shaped pleather one-seater and leading to the bathroom is a brand new marble bar top that faces a huge wall mount mirror framed in marble as well. The bathroom is also brand new and is the same style as the room. Back in the bedroom area by the door is a flat screen in front of the bed mounted to the wall and next to that is what looks like an Alice in Wonderland small door that’s latched shut.
I call out to Josh saying the coast was clear and he and my girlfriend make their way up while rightfully complaining about mosquitoes and humidity etc., etc. They get into the room, relieved that there is an air conditioning unit and we turn it on. Starting to open the rum for a shot, deciding what to order for room service, slowly we notice odd things like tacky mirrors on the ceiling above the bed, oily hand prints on the walls near the bed. Off things, you know? Kinda like someone was just in there…using it. There were NO bed sheets. Just a mattress on the frame and no pillow.
So we start asking Josh…”YO ,WTF MAN. You said your dad’s been here? Are you sure?”
(Poor guy was remaining hopeful, it was pretty juxtaposed)
Josh says $35.
I ask, “$35 a night? That’s cheap!” Josh says, “No…$35 for 12 hours per room. It’s $70 per room if we want 24 hours.”
Me and my girlfriend are like “No!! This is a sex shack motel! Dude, now way.”
Josh is like, “Nah man, my dad wouldn’t do this to me? Or would he?”
So my girlfriend has about had it. She’s noticeably bothered, disgusted, hungry, and tired. I’m trying to offer her rum and cokes to chill her out and she goes, “We don’t have ice. It’s really warm.”
So, Me being a gentleman, point out that there’s a menu on the wall by the phone. We look at the menu…
  • Anal beads, 12 count or 36
  • Sexy beach sex lotion
  • 24oz soda pop
  • condoms, dildos, etc.
My girlfriend? YO SHE FLIPPED OUT….I was rollin’! Then she turns on the t.v…HARDCORE PORN.
She’s like AHHHH and changes the channel. Then the next channel….MORE PORN…2 guys getting down like no other. Mustaches, muscles, and all.
And she’s all….WTF MORE SEX??? EWWW! JOSH! WTF! Babe, help me!


She fumbles with the remote.
At that point my sheltered girlfriend has had it and she throws the remote at me…”Fix it, fix it!! IT’S ALL PORN, FIX IT!”
So I change the channel…BEVERLY HILLBILLIES in SPANISH…
We settled with that, I immediately pick up the phone and call for Angel.
Josh is apologizing to my girlfriend and she’s trying to hold it together while I ask for sheets for the bed and ice. He lets me know there’s no ice maker here. He will be on his way with the sheets and towels.
I go to check the bathroom again for bugs, cuz my lady wanted to go and she’s terrified of insects. When I open the shower curtain I see a replica of the Titanic hand smear going down the center of the shower wall, like some man/woman was posted up.
So I rush out to the room and inform her although there are no bugs, we aren’t showering until we get to our resort the next morning.
Next thing you know, there’s a doorbell sound and we’re all looking around clueless.
Again it rings.
I rush downstairs to the garage and open the door, no one.
Finally, Josh opens the dumb waitor door and there’s a little brown hand waving. “Hola soy Angel.”
He drops the sheets down and then in Spanish demands the money for our hourly stay.
We give the guy $70 bucks and tell him we’re taking two rooms only for 12 hours.
We then realized we may have scared him earlier and we wanted to make it up to him, plus he guided us here and saved our asses so we owed him a drink at least.
We kept trying to encourage him to join us for a shot and he kept denying it.
Later when we sat down and began drinking we realized…he probably thought we were up to some sinner-style things and were trying to include him.
Who knows what that “Angel” has seen in these rooms or outside these rooms. We were a bit bothered thinking of ourselves as the creep when really it’s Puerto Rico that’s being creepy.
So, Josh wraps himself in a blanket as we’re discussing plans for the next day. I try spreading the other sheets out on the bed for cleanliness and decide to inspect mine before using. Meanwhile Josh is all wrapped up drinking and talking shit to me…he’s all…”Gabe, I told u this place was legit. It’s not as bad as you’re making it seem. It’s brand new designed and super cheap. We’re saving mad money!” Etc., etc.
And I’m all…Yo, this sheet is stained…HUGE STAIN IN THE CENTER.
the next one I unwrap, HUGE stain, what looks like millions of little speckled stains, one can only assume is ejaculation…man or woman IDK.
I throw it down. I grab the last one, open it…seems clean on one side…then I flip it STAINS EVERYWHERE.
Josh laughs in shocked embarrassment and I look at him….I say Josh you’re wrapped in a blanket. Did you check it?
He’s like, “Yeah man….I checked it.
The blanket, I can tell, is still neatly folded, not full unwrapped.
I tell him to recheck it, and my girlfriend says it’s stained. He denies it and I pull it off him and check it…STAINED.
He flips out and moves to the red couch. Then the more I look at the couch he was sitting on, I realize…it’s a sex couch.
I tell him, “Dude you’re sitting in a sex spot.” Then I look at my girlfriend and I’m like…”Babe, were sleeping with our clothes on.”
As we’re somewhat laughing at the preposterous and ridiculousness of the situation we are in I get a phone call…somehow in the middle of the jungle I get a phone call.
It’s my dad telling me that my grandma passed away. I drank a good amount of the rum that night. It was single handedly the worst 1st night I ever spent in Puerto Rico.
Luckily the craziness of the first night was countered by an awesome wedding party and we got invited to stay at the wedding villa for free the remainder of nights. Friends came to rescue. One crazy story, but I am glad it happened because I appreciated the rest of the trip so much more.

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